Austrian public-opinion pollsters recently reported that those held in highest esteem by most of the people interviewed are neither the great artists nor the great scientists, neither the great statesmen nor the great sport figures, but those who master a hard lot with their heads held high.
It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.
Usually, to be sure, man considers only the stubble field of transitoriness and overlooks the full granaries of the past, wherein he had salvaged once and for all his deeds, his joys and also his sufferings. Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with. I should say having been is the surest kind of being.
But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.
Long ago we had passed the stage of asking what was the meaning of life, a naïve query which understands life as the attaining of some aim through the active creation of something of value.
What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaninglessness in rational terms.
For too long a time--for half a century, in fact--psychiatry tried to interpret the human mind merely as a mechanism, and consequently the therapy of mental disease merely in terms of technique. I believe this dream has been dreamt out. What now begins to loom on the horizon is not psychologized medicine but rather those of human psychiatry.
Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on.
Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.
Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.
Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.
No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.
A man's concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.
Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.
The third aspect of the tragic triad concerns death. But it concerns life as well, for at any time each of the moments of which life consists is dying, and that moment will never recur. And yet is not this transitoriness a reminder that challenges us to make the best possible use of each moment of our lives?
An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.
Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.
The transitoriness of our existence in now way makes it meaningless. But it does constitute our responsibleness; for everything hinges upon our realizing the essentially transitory possibilities.
An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature.
If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.
The truth-that love is the highest goal to which man can aspire.
And I quoted from Nietzsche: That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.
In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity - even under the most difficult circumstances - to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal
As a professor in two fields, neurology and psychiatry, I am fully aware of the extent to which man is subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But in addition to being a professor in two fields I am a survivor of four camps - concentration camps, that is - and as such I also bear witness to the unexpected extent to which man is capable of defying and braving even the worst conditions conceivable.
Ironically enough, in the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes... Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself.
There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose
As for the concept of collective guilt, I personally think that it is totally unjustified to hold one person responsible for the behavior of another person or a collective of persons.
It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.
More Viktor E. Frankl Quotations (Based on Topics)
Life - Man - Suffering - Death & Dying - Love - Success - Duty - Liberty & Freedom - Contemplation - Happiness - Courage - World - Opportunity - Purposes - Mind - Work & Career - Facts - Value - Potential - View All Viktor E. Frankl Quotations
More Viktor E. Frankl Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl - Carl Jung - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - M. Scott Peck - Karl Jaspers - Jean Piaget - Ivan Pavlov - Howard Gardner - Carl Rogers - B. F. Skinner